LETHBRIDGE – If you’re a fan of the Edmonton Oilers, then the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ clash with the Spokane Chiefs was a thing of beauty Friday night (Nov. 10). For a fan of the Hurricanes though… not so much.
Oilers’ prospect, Kailer Yamamoto, rejoined the Chiefs for his first WHL action of the season, after being sent down by Edmonton following a nine-game NHL audition. He definitely seemed to take the demotion to heart, putting up four points in a 6-3 road win over the ‘Canes.
Of course, it should be noted that any excitement for Oilers’ fans over Yamamoto’s success had to come at the expense of fellow Edmonton pick, Stuart Skinner, who gave up all six goals in the Lethbridge net.
It was the Hurricanes’ who opened the scoring 6:45 into the game, as Jake Elmer registered his second goal of the season. The Chiefs responded less than 45 seconds later though, with Yamamoto picking up an assist. He added another assist a few minutes later on the power play to pull the visitors ahead, and then scored a short-handed goal with just over two minutes left to play in the opening frame, putting Lethbridge in a 3-1 hole.
After giving up another one midway through the second, Giorgio Estephan and Ryan Vandervlis traded goals with the Chiefs to give the Hurricanes some life, but it wasn’t enough to come back against a group from Spokane that had lost four in a row themselves entering the contest.
The loss was the fifth straight for the Hurricanes, who have now also lost three games in a row by a score of 6-3.
Also troubling in the defeat was the ineffectiveness of their power play, as it went just 1-for-8, with Estephan having the lone man advantage goal. It is worth noting that the ‘Canes were missing stud rookie forward Dylan Cozens, who is tied for second in power play goals on the club with four, and who is currently playing with Team Canada Red at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
While there is still plenty of time left in the season, one can’t help but notice that Lethbridge is now just barely closer to a playoff spot (2-points behind Red Deer) then they are last place in the WHL (3-points ahead of Kamloops and Edmonton).
On the positive side, the Hurricanes won’t have much time to dwell on the loss, as they now embark on a six game road trip, which begins Saturday, Nov. 11, in Swift Current.
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